William Graham of Mossknowe

???? - 1790


Slave-owner in Westmoreland, Jamaica. Reportedly died at Dumfries Scotland in 1790. His will was made in 1768 with a codicil of 1772: successive administrations were granted in 1821 and 1832. Brother of John Graham of Mossknowe (q.v.: see also the entry for John Graham Campbell).

  1. 'The property of Mossknowe lies in the parish of Kirkpatrick Fleming, in Annandale, Dumfriesshire. The Grahams first obtained possession of Mossknowe in 1660: William Graham, minister of Kirkpatrick Fleming from 1658 to his death in 1673 aged 45, married Margaret Irving, elder daughter of David Irving of Mossknowe. He was succeeded by William Graham of Mossknowe MA, who may have died in the 1740s. His eldest son was Fergus Graham of Mossknowe. The estate had become burdened with debt, however, and had to be sold. The purchaser, in 1762, was Dr William Graham, a surgeon of the parish of Westmorland in the island of Jamaica, grandson of William Graham of Mossknowe MA. He seems to have returned to the UK, while Fergus died there c1769. Dr Graham died in 1790, succeeded by his brother John Graham of Mossknowe. He died in c1800, and was succeeded by his son, William Graham of Mossknowe. In 1794 he married Grace Gordon, youngest daughter of Hon Lt Col John Gordon, second son of the third Earl of Aboyne. On his death in 1832, his eldest son, Col William Graham of Mossknowe (1797-1882) succeeded. His two elder sons succeeded him in turn, the younger of whom, Maj-Gen John Gordon Graham of Mossknowe (1833-1911), had a number of children with his wife Susanna Hay. Their eldest son, William Fergus Graham of Mossknowe (1874-1953), succeeded. He served in the Boer War and in the First and Second World Wars. His eldest son, John Fergus Graham of Mossknowe (1928-1991), succeeded, but died without issue, and was succeeded by his first cousin, Claude Stewart Chambers Graham of Mossknowe (1935-), who lives in South Africa.'

  2. William Graham was listed in the Jamaican Quit Rent books for 1754 as the owner of 1200 acres of land in St James and 366 acres of land in Westmoreland, total 1566 acres.

  3. This William Graham was presumably the subject of Robert Burns' epitaph 'On Wm Graham of Mossknowe':

"Stop thief!" dame Nature call'd to Death, As Willy drew his latest breath; How shall I make a fool again? My choicest model thou hast ta'en.


  1. From Scottish Archive Network, Online Catalogue: http://catalogue.nrscotland.gov.uk/scancatalogue/person.aspx?code=NA22458&st=1&tc=y&tl=n&tn=y&tp=y&k=mossknowe&ko=a&r=&ro=s& [accessed 20/03/2017].

  2. 'A List of landholders in the Island of Jamaica together with the number of acres each person possessed taken from the quit rent books in the year 1754', TNA CO 142/31 transcribed at http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Samples2/1754lead.htm.

  3. http://www.robertburns.org/works/454.shtml [accessed 20/03/2017], which gives a date of 1794.

Further Information


Transcribed at http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Members/CrooksGraham.htm#William [accessed 23/02/2015].

I William Graham of the parish of Westmoreland... I Bequeath Unto my sister Mary Graham £30 sterling per annum during her natural life...to be paid by my brother John Graham...

Unto my two aunts Janet and Anne Graham £20 sterling each during their natural lives.

Unto John Campbell Esquire of New Hope in the parish of Westmoreland £1,000 current money of Jamaica and a Negro man named Billy.

Unto James Campbell Esquire of Kendall in the parish of Hanover £200 sterling which he owes me on bond.

Unto Henrietta Campbell, Elizabeth Campbell and Margaret Campbell £500 each at the age of sixteen years.

Unto Mary Campbell widow of Colin Campbell my daughter in law the sum of £50 sterling to buy her mournings.

The above legacies to John Campbell and his three sisters to be paid out of the money due to me on bonds from him, John Campbell, and his mother.

I give unto Sarah White wife of Hugh White the sole benefit and use of the following Negroes Celia and her daughters Peggy and Yarra and her son April and mulatto Daniel the son of Peggy and after her decease to her heirs...failing of such heirs to her brother John Campbell.

Unto Mary Campbell the wife of Peter Campbell Esquire of Fish River in the parish of Hanover the following Negroes viz. Hannah and her daughters Bonella and Juliet.

Unto Peter Campbell son of the said Peter and Mary Campbell one Negro boy named Major.

Unto Mary Ann Campbell daughter of Peter and Mary Campbell one Negro boy named Quamina and one Negro girl named Charlotte.

Unto James Patterson Esq. of Carpon 50 guineas to buy a ring as a small memorandum of the friendship I bear him.

Unto Aaron Moffat Esquire of the parish of St. Ann £50 currency.

Unto Thomas Storer Esquire in Golden Square London £50 sterling to buy a ring as a small token of the esteem I have for him.

Unto my sister in law Dorothy Graham wife of my brother John Graham £50 to buy mourning.

Unto my two nephews William and John Graham and unto my two nieces Margaret and [ blank ] the sons and daughters of my brother John Graham £500 sterling each at twenty one years or day of marriage.

Unto Colin Currie of the City of London merchant 30 guineas to buy him a ring.

Unto Sarah White wife of Hugh White all my plate.

Unto my aforesaid nephew William my gold watch and seals.

Unto Fergus Graham of the parish of Hanover and Charles Graham of the parish of Westmoreland all my wearing apparel to be divided equally and to each a riding horse...

Unto Dr. John Drummond all my books and my desk.

All the rest and residue of my estate here and in Great Britain I give to my brother John Graham.

It is my particular will and desire that none of my executors who are indebted to me on bond or otherwise should take advantage of not paying what is due to me on account of my appointing them my executors.

I appoint my brother John Graham, Thomas Storer, John Campbell of New Hope, John Campbell of Salt Spring and Aaron Moffat my executors.

William Graham, 17 June 1768. Witnesses, Thomas Anderson, Francis Somerville, James Stuart.

1772 Codicil

I give unto my beloved friend John Campbell of New Hope £1,000 current money of Jamaica over and above what is mentioned in my will.

I desire that £20 currency be paid annually to James Stuart during his natural life.

I give to my daughter in law Mrs Mary Campbell 50 guineas to buy a ring.

Unto my executors 10 guineas for a ring.

I appoint Peter Campbell of Fish River, James Campbell of Kendall, Colin Campbell of Campbelton and Hugh White of Lenox to be executors jointly with those named in my will.

William Graham, 13 June 1772. Witnesses, Charles Graham, John Drummond, Samuel Bell.

[William Graham died at Dumfries, Scotland, in 1790]

1821 On 19 November 1821 administration granted to William Graham the sole executor of the will of John Graham the brother [of William Graham]...Thomas Foster, John Campbell, John Campbell, Aaron Moffat, Peter Campbell, James Campbell, Colin Campbell and Hugh White survived but died without taking upon them the probate and execution of the will and codicil...

1832 The will...unadministered by William Graham deceased while living...administration granted to Erskine Douglas Sandford executor of the will of William Graham

Associated Estates (2)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1786 [EA] - 1786 [LA] → Mortgage Holder
1790 [EA] - 1790 [LA] → Owner

Possibly mortgagee or mortgagee-in-possession rather than owner.

Relationships (2)

Uncle → Nephew

Addresses (1)

Mossknowe, Annandale, Dumfriesshire, Southern Scotland, Scotland